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WesternSFA
The Lady Slings the Booze
by Spider Robinson
Penguin, 257pp
Copyright 1992
Just when you thought Spider couldn’t keep coming up with puns, we have this sterling example of one pun-filled page after another. I really don’t know how he keeps doing this; it must be a very weird place inside Spider’s mind.

This story is a nice, long one with a lovely mystery AND a suspense plot. Our hero is Joe Quigley, an intrepid private eye. Joe has a very checkered career; he seems to have a talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. He’s hired by a powerful, rich man to investigate something at the legendary Lady Sally McGee’s whorehouse. He’s not told what it is; only that Lady Sally will decide what to tell him. To Joe, it doesn’t really matter; hell, he’d pay for the privilege of spending time at Lady Sally’s.

When he gets there, Lady Sally explains that he’s there to find “the man who wasn’t.” And to do so, he must masquerade as one of the resident ‘artists.’ Getting a behind-the-scenes view of the famous House is a real eye-opener for Joe. Nothing and no one is as he expected.

But that plot line is resolved about two-thirds of the way through the book. That’s when Joe realizes that Lady Sally isn’t what she seems to be. She and her husband, Mike Callahan, are not quite…normal. Not that any of us who’ve read the preceding books are surprised by that. But the real reason for Mike’s bar and Sally’s house is what’s fascinating. I loved the premise that Spider springs on us. And then the story turns into a cold war-type suspense story with a lovely ending. Oh, yes, and along the way Joe falls in love with a hooker who has two bodies. Just imagine the possibilities... ~~ Catherine Book

BONUS FOR EVERYONE WHO READ THIS FAR: When I’m done reviewing the whole series, there will be a Trivia Contest and the winner will win my whole Callahan collection. Stay tuned…

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